#BiteSizeSaturday – Christmas Edition part 2: lots and lots of mistletoe, a few murders, a creepy doll and a ghost or two

Hi and welcome to Bite Size Saturday! It’s almost Christmas, you guys, how did THAT happen?! This year’s gone by in the blink of an eye, it’s crazy and it scares the living daylights out of me ‘cause at this rate I’ll be an shrunken old bitty in an old folks’ home before I know it!

Before I get the blues, and drag you all down with me, let’s move on to merrier subjects! Although… merry is debatable… As I told you at the beginning of the month, I love to do some seasonal reading, but I don’t like my reads too fluffy, fuzzy or cosy (ICYMI). Last week (ICYMI) I told you about two non-festive festive reads that totally fit the bill, although I wasn’t a fan of one of them, and this week I’d like to tell you about two other books that are completely different from last week’s, and from each other, but that I both enjoyed very much.

First up: Mistletoe by Alison Littlewood. I first saw this gorgeous novel on The Tattooed Book Geek, where Drew labelled it a hell yeah book (ICYMI).
Mistletoe is about Leah, a woman who has suffered a great loss and, needing a break from everything, has bought a rather dilapidated and remote farmhouse up north. Strange things start happening, as they do in these kinds of tales, and before long, Leah is seeing visions of the past, witnessing past events. Throw in a creepy doll that keeps showing up and the neighbours clearly knowing more about the farm’s wicked past, and you got yourself a deliciously spooky tale.
You know that feeling when you get up in the morning on a winter’s day and the world has this weird, eerie quality and you realise it’s because that night the first snow has fallen? You open the door and the world is too quiet, every sound muffled, no one around and it’s peaceful and somehow too eerie at the same time? That is the feeling that I had throughout Mistletoe. It’s a slow-burner but so atmospheric I couldn’t care less.
Festive? Yes! Snow, mince pies, a Christmas tree, mistletoe literally everywhere, …
Non-festive? Yes! Very spooky, betrayal, murders, and of course also finding out about the loss Leah has suffered, this being the first time she has to spend the holidays alone.
Verdict: a very enjoyable non-festive festive read! If you like Halloween more than you do Christmas but you’re trying to get into the Christmas spirit anyway, this is the one for you!

Moving on to another mistletoe title: Mistletoe Murder by Karen MacInerney is the fourth instalment in the Dewberry Farm Mysteries. I haven’t read the first three, I just really wanted to give this one a whirl for Christmas and I’m happy to report I have no regrets: it was fun and I was able to follow the story without a hitch.
In Buttercup, Texas, a man is found dead with a sprig of mistletoe in his hair. Apparently the town’s sheriff is not the sharpest tool in the box, or the most the eager for that matter, and so Lucy decides to do some sleuthing of her own. Lucy is a former investigative journalist, now living at Dewberry Farm where she tends to her dog, chickens and larger farm animals and makes soaps and candles.
Despite the murder, this story is a lot cosier than what I’d normally pick up, but it never gets overly syrupy and I had lots of fun sleuthing alongside Lucy. I do love a good murder mystery, a term that might lead you to think of Agatha Christie. I have to say I didn’t get a huge Agatha vibe from Mistletoe Murder but I guess you could compare to a Miss Marple without it falling short.
Festive? Yes! This one’s filled to the brim with Christmas spirit!
Non-festive? Yes! Nothing screams non-festive like a good old murder mystery, even if it is a really cosy one.
Verdict: a fun non-festive festive read that I’d happily recommend to lovers of cosy crime and Christmas!

Thanks for joining me today! Have you read these, or do you want to? Let me know below!

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